Bodo, Norway

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If there is a gateway to Norway’s Arctic region, it is the small coastal city of Bodø, in Nordland County. As was true of many of the country’s industrial ports, Bodø was heavily bombed by the Germans in World War II, which accounts for its largely contemporary look today—even more so with the new state-of-the-art Stormen concert hall and library complex. It’s worth a stop to admire the spacious blond-wood interiors of this institution that's helping to promote Sami culture. With a backdrop of snowcapped peaks, tiny Bodø is nicely walkable, especially along its concrete breakwater, which, as part of the Artscape Nordland program, includes a dramatic work by British sculptor Tony Cragg in which seven gray boulders with holes drilled through them produce “a place where land and water meet, where nature and construction collide.” As part of a recent street art festival, the facades of dozens of buildings are now covered in works by international artists. For those who thrill to jet planes, the Royal Norwegian Air Force and NATO train here, and the city is home to the Norwegian Aviation Museum. An added bonus from early June to mid-July: Visitors can take in the spectacle of the midnight sun.
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